Lawton `Bud` Chiles joins gubernatorial race as an independent
The son of former Gov. Lawton Chiles enters the Florida governor’s race — but not as a Democrat.
TALLAHASSEE — Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, son of the late governor, announced Thursday that he plans to run for governor as an independent candidate.
A lifelong Democrat, Chiles is poised to test the theory that 2010 is the Year of the Outsider. Another high-profile candidate, Gov. Charlie Crist, recently left his party to run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race.
The move gives Chiles additional time to raise money and build name recognition for November’s race between candidates from the two major parties. In opting out of the Democratic primary, he skipped a one-on-one battle with Alex Sink, the front-runner for the nomination who has raised $6.1 million.
“The two parties are not the solution,” he said. “They’re caught up in this high-stakes game that pits big money against big money and leaves ordinary Floridians on the sidelines.”
Chiles said he made his decision after he met with Sink and she told him she plans to raise $30 million on the race. Democrats likely won’t be pleased with Chiles’ move, as it could set him up as a spoiler who would draw votes from Sink.
Chiles has flirted with a statewide run for the past year, first for the post of chief financial officer and now for governor. He briefly ran for governor in 2005, but was forced to drop out because he had not met the constitutional requirement of living in the state for the past seven years. Chiles returned to Florida in 2003 after living for 10 years in the New York area. He left Florida just before his father ran for a second term in 1994.
BY LEE LOGAN
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau